Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Arcia and Hicks (revised)

Joe Mauer gives Oswaldo Arcia a quick hug after
the Twins broke their five-game losing streak Monday.
Oswaldo Arcia's major league debut Monday was a mixed bag. A base hit (and some good aggressive baserunning) in his first trip to the plate, another well-struck out — good. A muffed pop-up in the outfield — bad.

His time to be a factor in the Minnesota Twins lineup will come. His time is not now.

When Now that Wilkin Ramirez has returns returned from his paternity leave — the baby was born Sunday — Arcia will doubtless go back to Rochester, where he will doubtless continue to scorch International League pitchers. Which will eventually force the Twins to make room for him.

Making room for him means something other than bouncing Aaron Hicks. It means moving out one of the corner outfielders, or the first baseman, or the designated hitter — Josh Willingham, Chris Parmelee, Justin Morneau or Ryan Doumit. Arcia gives the Twins five guys for four positions, and none of the five have the skills to be useful in center field.

The Twins on Monday had Arcia in left — a position he has seldom played in the minors — with Willingham sitting the game out with a reported illness. Darin Mastroianni played center and led off, with Hicks sitting with an inflamed slump. And Parmelee was in right field, as usual.

But Hicks did play Monday as a defensive sub for Arcia, with Mastroianni shifting to left field. And the rookie had one of his better plate appearances of the season, working a base on balls after falling behind 1-2.

It was the kind of grinding at-bat Hicks had frequently during spring training and that was missing for the first 11 games of the regular season.

One good plate appearance doesn't wash away three dozen bad ones. But it should remind us of why the Twins came into spring training hoping that Hicks would claim the center field and leadoff job — because of the three candidates he was the one who best projected to fit the role.

Two bad weeks at the plate — and they were bad — aren't enough to change that.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a big thumbs-up to Correia! I hope he continues to prove your (and numerous others) bad feelings about his acquisition were groundless.

    Hicks will soon prove his mettle as well. He showed us too much in spring training, and in the minors before that. He's got what it takes, and he will become a fixture in the Twins line-up that will stay there for years!

    We're coming to a point when hard decisions will have to be made - what to do with really good players when other really good players come up from the minors and truly deserve a place on the roster. The Twins may not be particularly competitive yet this year, though they could be, but give 'em a year or two...